Help pack a million meals for struggling seniors on 9-11. Volunteer today



Driver Safety

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Happy African American couple

AARP Books

Visit the Books Section

Enjoy titles on retirement, Social Security, and becoming debt-free.

Jobs You Might Like

most popular


Save a Buck

Discount for a Dented Can of Corn

Money budge and saving

— Gregor Schuster/Corbis

With the economy down and consumers looking for ways to trim their budgets, business is booming at the hundreds of “scratch and dent” stores scattered around the country.

Such stores sell groceries at huge discounts off what the same items would cost in your local supermarket, often 50 percent or more.

That’s because the stores buy up truckloads of nonperishable food, cleaning supplies, paper goods, pet food and other items that have been returned by supermarkets.

The reasons for returns: Packages have been scratched or dented or otherwise damaged, the items are near or beyond their “sell-by” dates, they have been overstocked or discontinued, they are no longer seasonal (think Halloween in November), or they just didn’t sell well.

You never know what you’re going to find in one of these places, so you’ll need a flexible shopping list. One week there will be shelves of canned corn and detergent, the next week no corn but plenty of orange juice and artichoke hearts. Salvage stores are plentiful in some states, scarce in others. Go to Anderson’s Country Market for a state-by-state list maintained by one store as a public service.

Joan Rattner Heilman writes on good deals and where to find them.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


The Cheap Life

Jeff Yeager Cheap Life Ultimate Cheapskate AARP YouTube web series save money

Catch the latest episode of The Cheap Life starring Jeff Yeager, AARP's Ultimate Cheapskate. Watch

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Member Benefits HomeServe

Members can protect their homes with comprehensive repair plans from HomeServe.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can get cash back rewards on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

Woman holding smartphone in city, Google map tool

Members can find discounts on the go via the AARP® Member Advantages Offer Finder app.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points


Advance your skills. Transform your career.

Explore your learning possibilities.